tv Panel Discussion on the Future of Baltimore CSPAN October 3, 2015 8:45pm-10:16pm EDT
some time they are coming home. and so if we are not only 5 percent therefore long-term sentences. how we think about the way that we can unite them with families and the situations where they can and should be united with families, and i completely understand there are certain situation maria cover reunification is not a good thing. i understand that, but what we have on the books right now which makes it more challenging even in the situation where it is better for the family and that person,person, those type of things have to be thought about underdressed. we have to be able to do a better job of thinking about the ways we focus on education, you know, how many people in the juvenile justice system right now are
a students? how many people in the adult prison system right now graduated phi beta kappa? right? there are correlations that we have to understand and be honest about. and so when we are watching the growth of the juvenile justice system and the adult prison system, the adult prison system when you look at the fact that 64% of people have some form of interaction with the juvenile justice system. the adult prison system is kids involved in a juvenile justice and we have now simply gotten older and are committing more serious crime and are now more heavily involved in what is now an adult system.system. that is how that evolution, talk about the pipeline, that's the pipeline the people are talking about. so be able to address these things at their core, like
education, education free, but even once aa person gets involved, what is that education that we can provide? and there is a 3rda 3rd thing which becomes another critically important piece, this piece on economics. i remember when we were in afghanistan, someone told us something that one of my platoon sergeant said that i thought was so right. he said, who is the most dangerous person we have out here? and of course, the natural answers became taliban and i got a group and al qaeda. andqaeda. and his point was, it is the person that has not worked in 24 months. that is the most dangerous person we have out here and here is why. because when a person has worked in 24 months, they have no problem with someone walks of them and says, go to the top beverage, and when you see an american convoy rolled by, push send on the cell phone because
that will then detonate an ied. and for every confirmed kill that you can show us that you have from your action, i will give you $75. that now has just become a stream of employment for this person, and that person has now just become the most dangerous person we fight in afghanistan. we have to be able to think about how economics play into this as well. both economics not just in terms of any people to do more in terms of hiring, but there are people doing certain movements and things that can be positive and good but how to create an entrepreneurial class and culture and support the things were grow new businesses, hire more people , and they can turn in charge partners themselves? how do we prevent opportunities for growth, personal,, personal, societal, spiritual, etc., for people who might admit mistakes?
and i think if we can do that there are some tremendous opportunities that we know command i think baltimore in many ways can be a national example when you think about the foundation that we have here. and i'm not talking about financial foundation, the societal foundation that we have here. but it means we're going to have to be deliberate and aggressive. if you look a cities that have grown and cities have done really well over time, when i, when i think about the growth of cities like boston and atlanta and dinner, etc., those were not by accident. it is because they were maniacally disciplined and because they were focused on the growth. when you look at what michael hancock and the work he is doing in denver,
denver is not growing because it is an accident. denver is growing because it is intentional. when you look at the growth of atlanta overpass generations, that was not an accident. i was because maynard jackson and a group of other said,, no, we will be deliberate about a level of growth and how do we not just come up with a cherry picking growth strategy but incorporate all members of our society, even those who might have made stakes. the 95 percent are coming home are part of that growth strategy two, they have to be. >> what we are going to do at this time is -- let's see if we can get -- [applause] [applause] >> the book, the work, and you will have an opportunity at the close of this part of the presentation to purchase a copy of the book. he will take the time to sign the book and get a few copies for your family and friends as well. and these are not just history but the story of many of the works that are
being done, amazing things in the community to make sure that the work stays lit for many of us. we will be doing that in the tent right up there right around the corner here not too far, literally right outside their. you can getyou can get a copy of the work written. again, thank you so much for your questions and passing information. we are happy that he has but thisput this book out, not just a story, it's really like a how to guide. get to your passion and your work so that you can be truly successful and live a meaningful, well lived life. [applause]
d watkins is a columnist. his work is been published in the new york times, huffington post, aion, the guardian, and other magazines. he is a college professor and has also been the recipient of numerous awards including a fellowship,a fellowship, baltimore magazine's best writer award for 2015 in the baltimore business journal's 40 and under list. under 40 list. a knewa new minority, the author of six books including his highly acclaimed memoir white like me, reflections on race properly son. his next book under the
affluence of shaming the poor, praising the rich and jeopardizing the future of america will be released in early 2015. has contributed to over 25 additional books. stephen janis is an award-winning investigative journalist. .print and television. he won to maryland dc delaware print association awards for his work on the number of unsolved murders in baltimore and the killings of prostitutes. as an investigative producer he has won three successive capital emmys for best investigative series and is currently an investigative journalist for the real news network and nonprofit news service in baltimore. cherry park, the strong
black woman in american life and culture, the research focuses on public ascetics, the particular concern for pop-culture as public mythology and its effects on individuals, families, and minority culture, inactive and is in demand as a public speaker. active in the university as a steering committee member of the coalition for civic engagement. in 2008 she was2,000 and she was recognized by the campus is not standing woman of color. the university honors program and let's dispense the limits of hip hop and black politics, associate professor of political science at johns hopkins university who specializes in the study of black racial and urban politics in the wake of the neoliberal turn, and award-winning scholar in
2013 when he sees the distinguished book award and teacher and 2009 received an excellent asis teaching award. can be regularly aired on national public radio. next book will be out at the end of october. please welcome our esteemed panelists. [applause] >> what i am going to do is start with letting the panelists, beginning with lester spence kind of describe what their individual books are about. >> zero, wow. thank you very much. i knew that i was in the right place when i saw theyi saw they had a book festival because it meant that baltimore was literate and i wanted to be in a place
where people like to read and reading mattered. i am really interested in kind of the reproduction of any quality within black spaces. if youspaces. if you look at any quality across time from 1929 or so until the present, it takes the shape of athe you, really really high level in 1929, low levels in 1950 or so and really high levels now. we havenow. we have higher levels of inequality now than we did in the great depression. why is it taking the shape? wisely because of politics. you have the new deal, the great society that gave workers the right to organize, gave us a social safety net, and it made aa number of types of segregation or racial discrimination illegal. those policies were kind of gradually peel back starting in 1970 or so, and that has
an effect, if you look both enter racially, but it also has an effect within black communities. so if you look of black communities, a black politics approach as opposed to a racial politics approach that is, if you look within black community solely as opposed to comparing them to why communities. some black people with a lot of bit aloof, some with a little bit of the. and what you see consistently particularly in his modern moment i black elites justifying why that loot is distributed the way that it is a that is, why poor black people are where they are, why black people are working-class where they are. what i'm interested in doing with my next book is seeing how that dynamic plays out in black churches. you're talking about the rise of prosperity.
increasingly forced to the entrepreneurial and look at downtown development. basically that's why books about. >> thank you. i area public ascetics, how that moves to their lives and families and cultures. in and around the city that we will talk about later. here's angels argues that black women have already perfected an organic leadership model that they practice every day that is often unrecognized. and that is the invoice.
the 1st records creation stories and argued the sacred dark feminine and the strong black woman of the same model. the mother of herself. the darkness before. does anything. so i often get in trouble with people for saying these things. i street her through african and european history because ii argue that by the time slaveowners and sabine arrived they both already have a narrative. brilliant, strong, and interested in other people's problem. the best way to explain this is look around at the high number of security guards in the city.
and i asked the women, hired a lot of them, why it is said, they can do everything how many times have you heard those. i'm a natural woman. i'm everywhere i can do everything. they are strong enough that no one is going to go up against them. they are highly nurturant. that figure is on lockdown. and often black women position themselves behind men and often when i'm in an all-black situation talking saying this summary raise their hand is is why you supposed to?
>> going to be two different things. two different types of people. going through some type of healthcare disparity. why we are the way we are and help you recognize humanity exists within all this. he can be a black person in a housing project or you can be a top ranking ku klux klan member. eithermember. either way, both of those guys probably like ice cream. if story is relevant and you
have a place in society. that is what i had in mind. hopefully we can talk about some of those things tonight. >> so, most of my work, as some of you know, deals with eradicating white supremacy, addressing white privilege, institutional racism, and does that singly focus on that under the effluents connected to that, but it that, but it also is an attempt to examine the connection between economic disparity as a general class-basedclass -based phenomenon and white supremacy as a specific aspect of that. essentially because when you look around there are a lot of people talking about any quality. every now and then politicians talk about it, but neither occupy white dominated leftist movement
for very little acknowledgment of white supremacy, very little supremacy, very little knowledge of the role of privilege even within there own space not just with the larger analysis. a lot of people are talking about that. i argue in the book and document, as many others have done, the ways in which the class system in the united states cannot be understood absent an understanding of white supremacy. it does not exist without it, it would not exist a strong before it. butbut for the manipulation away workers and white workers races. a way of seeing the white people. without that the class system in this system would not be a strong. rationalized.
is also happening with the white space and we have been conditioned to believe that we are about you. this perfect mechanism for justifying inequality. an old european feudal systems if you were a peasanta peasant you them on the you were a pleasant and you were not going to be royalty. you were done. but in this country we have an ideology that says you are poor today but you will on this tomorrow. you can be a millionaire, billionaire, or folks in england would not have believed that. in this country everyone thinks they're will be the next bill gates, donald trump, because we have an ideology that says that.
if you made it, good on you, if you didn't, shame on you. we don't have to have a salon that -- solidarity, objectivity. we need to double down and we need to double down and work 60 hours a week, 80 hours a week. and we have a system that justifies all of the disparity using racism as a way toa way to bash poor folks by associating poverty in the with black and brown this which ironically means once they get associated with blackness and brown this whiteness who are struggling for social benefits discussed cut two. your unemployment insurance one away, he labor unions are being weakened, all of the stuff that provides subsidies for working people is being kicked out from the system because of the way in which all of that was racialized has stuff we do for those people over there on that side of town. people looking around. racial's edition a need has led to a situation where for
working-class white folks are also feeling the pinch. unless we understand, talk about, and address that we are all going to be at the mercy of that one 10th of 1 percent that owns a disproportionate amount of the wealth in this country and the city and state. >> i was a reporter. dealing with specifically crime, pain, violence, the eyes of specifically homicide detective. i was thinking about some of the things, people that eyewitnesses reporter covering crime and policing in a city which i guess in a lot of ways i examine some of the specifics. the idea of the path forward is kind of a profound idea. in the world i live in an observed and write about, there is no path forward.
there is a psychology of this idea of limitations, limitations of space and limitations of people. i wrote a lot about the zero-tolerance policy of the city where hundred thousand people were arrested year-over-year. i think it is a difficult topic to get to the individual sometimes. it is such a profound effect of the psychology of the city, the psychology of the people who were going to have a work in a corrupt police department. so i think before the uprising, we did a lot of writing about it. something that hangs over the head of the city. and we are the city, as a person who writes about the people here, a lot of times the way forward is certainly not the main focus. dealing with things that happened in the past and the pain of those policies has inflicted changing the
psychology. >> so the name on the title for this discussion is baltimore the path forward for the future of baltimore's diverse communities and what it takes to unify city. i would offer this to start the conversation. may 151911 baltimore mayor pendant signed into effect the 1st line the nation that directly created segregated housing of black and white homeowners. so basically baltimore invented segregation housing amongst all the other great things that we have done. and many of those lines that were made distinct on somewhat in movable warming in place. my question to the panel's, have we ever in the history of this city really
ever been truly unified as we try to seek that type of unity? have we ever really been unify? >> i would sayi would say that the most i feel as a reporter was during the uprising there was something that i think a lot of us did not think was possible. certainly during that time that was the most unified i've ever seen in the city in terms of trying to solve or overcome something. generally it's a small neighborhood, small little village, a collection of 250 it is very difficult to draw those lines. >> we are unified when the ravens win the super bowl. and so outside of euphoria and catastrophe, i guess the.is, have we ever been in
that kind of place where there was really unity to speak up? i am having difficulty remembering a time when that was actually true. >> definitely the super bowl, but what i think the uprising did was because he got so much media coverage, i think that so many people who do not believe these types of things happen pope were not aware were almost forced to read about it and see it so that they felt energized and wanted to do something. i have never seen that many white people on north avenue in my life. somebody put a smoothie stand up. all of these different things going on. one thing i took away from that was what do we do with this energy now? none of these people are aware of these situations. before camera phones a lot of people didn't think these murders were vor existed. now that we know the big question is how to move
forward. i felt like i had been living into baltimore's my whole life. i no why people and i no black people who will never meet each other under any circumstances. so the bigger question for me is to go along with what you asked, now that we have this moment out of the capitalize on it? >> i want to piggyback on that because i think most black people with privilege him back and forth on a regular basis and meet people every day. i think that is a reality that particularly are white friends did not know about. after ferguson but before freddie rate at affluent churchmen past what people of faith to do. one of theone of the things i said in passing was that it was baltimore.
this could be baltimore. it has been baltimore, and they were shocked. i was shocked that they were shocked. they were absolutely shocked and went around asking other white people. and then this is the difference. i do think the side sports it is important that we are talking about entertainment, the baltimore is unified more than any other space within art and culture which is important and it has been really important that the art and culture spectrum has been working really hard to take advantage. >> i am goingi am going to take a different approach. i am not interested in unity what i care about is the degree to which black and working-class populations of power, and if you look at that wealth distribution, distribution, when is his most and when is it brought? and now where it was more smartest, more wealth
equality than what we have now, there was aa moment where we have more working-class power than what we have now. i mention this factoid a lot 1990, the city of baltimore spends $145 million on policing. 2014 we spent $145 million and policing. and that two or three years we arrest more citizens then there are people in baltimore. and we can say objectively that is a bad look, and then we can points to moments where that did not happen. so what is it that differentiates those moments from this moment? i have actually argued that what differentiates of those moments where we have more equality, the presence of a unity.
we have a presence up until freddy gray. it was pretty unified amongst black elites, white elites, every delete you can articulate saying that poor people are poor people because of there own actions. that is unity. the solution to the city's problem was downtown development. it did not matter whether you talked about this mayor, the last mayor, or the mayor before that. they gave the same answer. that is unity. the question is not about unity now. the way forward is unpacking what that looks like what that false unity looks like and how we deconstruct after political organizing and then through storytelling. [applause] >> all i am going to add is that right there, exactly that and i am done. >> let's remember that just two years ago the city approved a hundred million
dollar tax break. you can walk out on the sidewalk and see harper. which is not just a hundred million dollar tax break but is really dedicating 250 million to a corporate giant. and this was done without much the liberation. everyone seemed to think it was a good idea, and this is one of the successions. meanwhile, he is right, it is not just the 450 million. we spent two or 300 million. technically if you look at our property tax rates a pretty much just covers public safety. and then when you talk about giving away tax breaks which the city has multiple tips all over the city, and recently passed a tax break
for people who build apartment buildings over 20 or 30 units and not pay taxes for ten years. the long-term commitment is going to cost every person, pretty much most of our resources for the rest of her life. to turn that around will be difficult. that type of plan, that convergence finds the fan -- the plan within which we all live right now. there will be an historic election in april for the mayor,mayor, and there are some candidates talking about changing this policy which will be crucial. that is what will be on the ballot. >> we have constantly heard from our leaders, specifically have had conversations with the mayor her she said over and over we had a deal with spikes and homicide. talk about the
politicization for the police state in baltimore and how itthey contribute to keeping groups and people separate and apart. >> i can just say this, really quickly, you're right , we arrest a hundred thousand people a year. i don't think anyone really understand the trauma of that type of policy what that meant to the people of the city. we were arresting almost the entire city. and the psychology of fear and intimidation and civic engagement, i can't even think you can quantify that. i was witnessing it is reporter and i could not believe what i was witnessing. there was a great silence between the political leadership on both sides. all the mayors were there. they said nothing. it changed the landscape of
the city. it might have been bad before. we literallywe literally lived in a city where manke drive into a neighborhood, the jump up wasn't come out. we live in a city where there is something called the walk-through. you goyou go to central booking and walk-through because they are resting so many people. it did not get a lot of coverage. it was real and still has an effect today. >> we have to talk about the importance of surveillance. most of you probably don't, and i don't live in a neighborhood, if you have ever seen what that looks like, there is actually an exhibit now or you can see the live footage from a surveillance camera. it is very clear. and so i think, zero, this is just the kind of thing that keeps people awake. living constantly under surveillance as part of
living in a police state. i had made with someone thought on the radio was an outrageous statement that i thought the united states was moving to look like apartheid era south africa. someone wrote in that that was an absurd statement. the time i was done with incarceration rates, you do not leave the house without your id? you don't. and so day-to-day ordinary life is what i am most concerned about. it may have sounded to you like an outrageous statement if you lookif you look from the top down it does not look like a police state. the texture of people's lives, is very much a police state, and you know what that does to people. you can talk about dramatic trauma, that is the type of traumatization that happens from chronic day-to-day surveillance and insubordination, and it does not lead to people who are old or bright or who are
willing to take chances because those people in those situations don't survive. and the idea that if you are a young black man in baltimore, and to some degree young black women, the idea that you are being told that the only way to survive is to submit, that means you live in a police state. >> the current system needs to be get it. it needs to be getting. [applause] if you are a black person living in certain parts of the west or east baltimore, you are almost 100 percent guaranteed to never have any positive interactions with police officers. they are not there to protect and serve, change flat, healthy remedy at the cat out of the tree. honestly, they are there to fark you up and put you in whatever type of situation they want un. if you go to more affluent
areas you will get a different type of cop. the traditions of some of the older police officers are being passed down to a new set of cops coming in. even if we talk about the officers who were charged in the freddie graves incident, , yes, lock them up, fire them, get rid of them all day, but there are three or 400 more like them being trained right now. until we address the culture we will address the same thing over and over. >> and we can be shocked this is happening. the function of law enforcement has always and forever been only one thing, to control the have-nots for the benefit of the halves. there is no other purpose for police. the idea that police are there to protect against the greatest harm to society is obviously crap because if that were at they would be profiling wall street bankers, locking them up and they aren't. there will be locking up players every year employers rother employees of three times more money, weights,
theft, not paying overtime, not paying minimum wage, not paying prep time. employer steel three times more money from their workers that are stolen by all the street criminals knocking you over the head and taking your purse, robin a liquor store, the bank, all the street steps combined. you commit a hundred dollars worth of fraud and go to jail for ten years, steel toed have trillion dollars which is what happened on wall street and no one is going to prison. not there to protect us from the greatest harm to society because then they would be locking up the folks at folks at johns hopkins who made the decision to do the lead study. they would be locking up the folks in johns hopkins who cleared the decision to do the lead study when they took for black children and use them as guinea pigs in different apartments. the lead levels went through the
roof because they could study and because it was easier than building new homes that were toxic. and it's not even about individual cops. it's the culture of policing, the mentality, the system of policing. it is not individual officers but the culture. culture. you can get rid of a handful of bad officers, and the culture will guarantee that you create more. when you try to speak out against that you get run out of policing, which has happened in the city and we have seen at least one person who has gotten in the news and been talking about the fact that he was basically run out because he acknowledged his buddies and blue were beating the crap out of criminal suspects without due process. if you try to be a good cop and not one of the bad apples we are told about, you will be a cop anymore. they might kill you. they will certainly not allow you to have a career. this is like having a sausage factory in and being shocked when you stand at
the end of the conveyor belt and the like, yeah, look at the sausage. if you are expecting it to give you chicken nuggets, what are you waiting for? it's a sausage factory. supposed to give you sausage. if you don't want sausage, build another damn factory, blowup the one you got from break the machinery commenced upon the gears, do something, but you're not going to you chicken nuggets out of the sausage factory for justice out of the police culture that is about controlling the have-nots for the benefit of the people who have. [applause] >> what is more frustrating, some of these fixes could be so simple. make police officers who work in baltimore live in baltimore. why do they live in pennsylvania? all of these different things. when i was a kid they had something called the palisades and there was an
officer named craig use it take us are on the play basketball. i was a relationship. and he livedand he lived in the neighborhood and it worked. so many people were able to go and do the right things in their life because we had that exposure. sigh, not going to like this kid up. i will rough him up a little bit and take them home and give them some knowledge. they took that away. why? >> community policing actually is much more effective in reducing crime. so the larger question is, if the police are there to reduce crime, what are they therefore? they are stopgap. between the most powerful and the least powerful. they are doing the same work at the apartheid level government. >> statistical reference. presently today there are about 3,000. city with about half the population. you talk about community policing. we are one of the most heavily noncontrolled in the country.
52% of our officers patrol. patrol. that is put a lot of her officers and specialized units like the one i went around the city sort of taking knowledge. the unit that was responsible for the most aggressive taxes and a lot of the lawsuit so was featured in some story. i story. an interesting personal experience, friend from the baltimore city, he told me before he went that he just did not want to have anything to do with the style of policing anymore. he try community policing where he forced the officers to get out of the car and walk and he walked himself. crime was reduced. but more importantly the community felt that they had someone who understood the. the police department, arguably we have more police. baltimore city has the 2nd highest per capita police department in the entire country.
visit he is institution with a tremendous amount of money and the tremendous amount of liquid power. it's going to be very hard to change that culture. >> if community policing worked, why stop? jails employ more people than ever. this country was people to go to jail, we imprison more people than any other nation in the universe. there you go. the system that works and you take it away because it does not fit the agenda. >> bring this back quickly. tim brought up the lead stuff. a lot of people don't know or have not talked about that his family sued and one for lead paint violations. he suffered from lead poisoning himself, the never he lives in has three times the lead paint violation rate as the city at large. maryland spends about a billion dollars on incarceration. i'm pretty sure when chester sends more of its residents
to prison than any other neighborhood. approximately 440. they spend about 10 million incarcerating. >> the top neighborhood. >> one of the top five neighborhoods in the city. >> yes. what has happened is we have seen that become social welfare policy. we take the welfare state and we basically replace it with a welfare state that has a primary purpose of incarcerating and shaming his residence. >> law enforcement reform, one of the biggest issues facing this next election in april is a concern. i'm going to talk with you specifically. you said in your book, you talk about your evolution from college professor to award-winning journalist and author. ..
all you have is mark twain and ben car union's memoir, what am i going to do? so, if this is what you give me to rationed it's not going to pique my interest. so part of my open personal mission is using my story as tool to ignite show other people that reading can be cool and interesting and relatable and also to get other people to tell their stories. your story is important. you never know who it can help and inspire, and we need that. >> your book, little black girls are drafted into the army of fierce angels. you alluded to the fact that black women are security guards because black women can do anything. is one of the premises of the
book. and a few years back we had -- and received a lot of attention because of this. sheila dixon was the mayor, stephanie rawlings blake was the council president, and pat jessemy was state's attorney. and a lot was made another of that nationally. but at the same time i remember -- i'm sure all of us remember -- on the front page of "the sun" newspaper there was an article that prior mayor, martin o'malley, went into a meeting with pat and commanded her to get off her fat lazy a-s-s. so i'm asking the question, the continuum of black women can do everything and they have this outside kind of expectation of
selflessness and nurturing, and on the other hand that level of vulnerability for a woman is who a state's attorney in baltimore, speak to that. >> that actually the point of the book, is to say that black women have -- i actually argue that this is the role that many women have played in any culture, about black women in this culture have been -- he perfected it because of their social position and being the matrix of many social events. i argue that the image has been co-opted and interview a number of black women, famous and not famous, and i explain that drafted into an army, i asked black women -- i would call people up and say, i think you're a fierce angel, and i told them they would say,ey, and is said how do you learn to do this? and dna became the refrain. they say i don't ever remember not knowing how to do this. often times families are tougher
on girls than boys. we don't like to say that. they're raised to be -- to not worry about themselves but to worry about everybody necessary the room to the point of even middle class black women are more likely to die of stress-related disease. there's a study that has found that black women even when they have stress-related disease, like blood pressure, they don't per sear their blood pressure going up because they have to work through exhaustion. so i never argue that black women are working at the top of their game. that what i mean when i say they're on lockdown because they have been trained to be -- there's a chapter called "booking coretta" about me, being plated behind by guidance counselors and communities, behind talented black men. you deserve this this but we're going to put him forward for this award. that makes me coretta. and coretta was highly talented on her own.
so in a way i'm telling cultural stories that some people say shouldn't be said. black womenned in to learn they're worth the same amount of effort they put into everybody else. [applause] >> and the nonviolent moment. i you can convince black women to come together and work, it will not only be important for black america. it will revolutionize the country, because black women are already working at -- look at any black church, look at many -- look at "black lives matter." you see black women who are not necessarily pushing themselves forward. the girl scouts did a thousand girl study in which girls of all races and a couple years ago. what they found out was that black girls intended to change
their communities but they did not intend to leave their communities. they had the factor of leadership, they were resilient and smart. when i say black women can do everything, don't mean that in a flip way. i mean they're being trained to do it all. and they have managed to do it all. i ask why don't you stop? they say i can't. there's nobody else to do this if i don't do it. that what the selflessness means. , and yes, that black women have been co-opted by power structures, both in black culture and outside of black culture, and that's the example you use. so that if she had turned around and called up an army of other mobilized women, black women, that story might have ended differently. >> i wonder what the -- i mean, i wonder about our community and our response to what happened, when martin o'malley was
allowed, for lack of a better term to refer to her this way. a woman who grew up in mississippi in the segregated south so the dynamic there was really fascinating. i wonder about our community, the black community's response, and specifically the response of black men, to what transpired. i wonder if we had any special responsibility to come to her aid for lack of a better term? >> i would argue that black men and women had responsibility to come to her aid, and you didn't. so, i guess -- can i ask a question why? >> you can ask -- are you asking me? >> i didn't know about it. maybe i was a kid. >> probably were. >> if o'malley said that to my wife or mom, he would have got his head knocked off by them, flat out. >> another thing he said, by them. black women have been trained that we don't stand up for ourselves we stand up for
everybody else. >> except yourself. >> yes. tim watts. the notion or definition of whiteness has been challenged for a long time, for generations. james baldwin -- an article in 1984 in "essence magazine" called on being white and other lives. give us a sense of in 2015, in the context of this -- we have to take our country back, and on one end over the spectrum, and then rachael doughsell, what whiteness is in 2015. well, i'm down with rachel -- >> i think a lot of people are. >> i think i speak for millions of people when i say that. i won't even bother and waste time. she has her open stuff to deal with. but for but for the rest of husband white folk, because she is one as well but isn't clear on that. the other 200 million,
approximately, so-called white folk, i think it's really important, and important in the context of what we have been talking about with regard to baltimore and issues of police racism and violence, it's really important for us to get clear on what baldwin was very clear on. famously said -- i'm paraphrasing him here -- the problem with white folks is that the first and foremost we think we're white, and as long as you think you're white there's no hope for you. what he meant by that was that when you allow yourself to believe that there is this thing called the white race, and it's real, and maybe biological or scientific or cultural, you're already lost because there's no such thing and never was any such thing, not such thing genetically or biologically, and there's not such thing culturally or politically, because the white -- at least not historically. there is now.
the whiteraise didn't exist. european people spent most of our time killing each other. right? before we decided to kill other people and ex-appropriate operate that are land and labor, we were really good at doing that shit to ourselves, and the idea there was this team called white people, that europeans -- belonged to -- northern italians would never believe those in the south, who weren't considered part of their nation and part of their people and folk, were italian, let alone would anglos have thought the irish wore the same group. this idea is preposterous and only created in the colony of what became the united states. that's essentially who white not guesses its birth. that term was not used in shakespearean literature in any way shape or form like today in the old days in fact, during the period when shakespeare was writing, this person we hold up as an arbiter of white hill tour, when the term white we into used its used to connote
generally used to connote positivity in religious literature but in shakespearean time it was used to refer to people who had help pro si -- leprosy. they might have called themselves christian's whatever. whiteness was create told take all of those disparate groups of working class peasants with nothing and say, you have this and you're on our team and you're sort of the end of the bench. we're not going to actually get you in the game unless we're winning by 30, and you're wearing a uniform that is a little raggedy, so we don't like you a lot but we like you enough -- they took poor europeans and put them on slave patrols and said, here, you get to help us keep those folks in line. you moon i get a badge and a whip and a gun? well, goodness.
i'm all for that. or then they said, well, we need you to go out there and fight for the homeland, meaning the south, because if they get freed they're going to take your job, and then white folks, i don't want them to tack my job. i got a rally behind the white team. but the slave, the enslaved person, already had their job. that what happens when you don't have to pay the enslaved person, and the white person has to charge you a dollar a day. guess who gets the gig. the one that is free, every day. so, in fact, low income white folks were being undermined. so, all throughout history this has been a trick, and if we don't understand the trick, then it becomes possible for us to look at something like baltimore as an uprising of irrational, dark-skinned folk as opposed to a rebellion rooted in the oppression, economic oppression of working class and low income people, the kind of stuff that once upon a time working class white people engaged in on the
regular, like if you go back to colonies, i look at west virginia, and you look at the mining wars where you had black miners and white miners who were walking with guns, deep, thousand people deep, ready to kill the national guard, not the national guard but the militia or whatever the hell they had and they had to come out and start shooting anymore order to break this multiracial coalition. there was time when people didn't identify it in this way, but increasingly those of us called white believe that actually means something and we don't see the solidarity that existed always among working and oppressed people and that's something we have to move through. [applause] >> that is the crux of the question, though. what you're saying, you make --ly -- why does it persist, something that has troubled me as a report, you write stories like lead poisoning in baltimore. nothing is more damaging to our
education system than lead poisoning children and it's a fixable problem, and we spend a couple million a year on lead abatement. even though we live in one whenever to the most lead infest evidence cities in the country. so the idea you're talking about persists, and it still seems to have the psychological force to keep implementing these policies, despite the failure. >> it's because it's -- it's not a failure at what i want. i don't assume their goals are the same. this is like after katrina, everybody said, spike lee even himself said, oh, katrina was a system breakdown of monumental importance. no that was the system. the idea it broke down and was failure you could only believe that if you thought poor black folks in new orleans, like normally sly t was good for them and then after the storm it got
bad. the system is producing the outcome it is intended to prove and this is tougher force who want to be allies and want to do multiracial solidarity. it it means the idea that what we're defining as success and the skim defines are two totally different things. so rooted in a hostility to blackness, hostility to indigenous people, hostility to people of color that we will literally sacrifice our self-interest on the altar of white supremacy. i don't know how to move through that but i know those of us who are called white have to begin standing up and steering resources and attention to those folks of color like the people in this community so they can solve those problems, because it's very clear that the majority of us are not going to see it. we're programmed not to see it. we are programmed to do the opposite of it. so those of white house do see it have to make sure the people who live it and die it have the power to actually make the decisions that will alter those conditions on their own.
>> little events beginning to suggest that might -- i don't know if it will happen enough and big enough but when we have been having these revelations of racist videos and racist songs and racist e-mails, these are things that other people didn't know were happening among white people. what is happening is that some white people are now starting to call out other white people. we wouldn't know these video exists or the e-mails existed unless a white person called out another white person. that's the beginning of something. whether it ever gets big enough, we don't know, but some things are beginning to happen that didn't happen 20 years ago. >> spence. >> so i want to push back against a couple of comments. if we work on the assumption that what our issue is it teaching black kids how to read, right? that's actually the fundamental problem. the reason we have a crime problem, because black men are not reading books? we kind of miss -- i'm willing to bet -- i am a political
scientist but i have not counted this. i'm willing to bet that the people doing the most reading of dictionaries young black kid want to have dexterity in their language. what we have is an economy problem. if we focus on black kid learning how to read, what we miss is in a city like baltimore we only have three high schools who routinely send kids to hopkins where i'm at. and that a structure problem to deal with the economy. ething i want to push back against in a different way is we're missing that there's not a psychological weight to whiteness, there's a material wage, so if you look -- the fundmental issue that baltimore and other cities have, is a problem of the red line. not the red line that hogan got rid of. it's the red line that -- that technology used to determine who got housing money and who didn't. that was started around 1930 and
funded by the federal government. if you take every single problem baltimore has and layer that 1930 red line map on top of it, every single problem is concentrated in that red line. every single one. there's a material wage that people get when they actually are outside of that red line. so the child -- the reason i talk about material wages as opposed to psychological wage is because there's away where we transition where the political result of a psychological way to whiteness argue. is not always this but a lot of times it's therapy. right? what we need to do is we need to kind of teach white people about themselves. we need to teach people to check thunder privilege. we need to teach people -- no, it's a political problem. you need therapy, yes. we all need therapy. right? but we have to separate that therapeutic dynamic from political organizing. those are two very different
projects. [applause] >> i agree with almost everything you just said, lester, but i spent a lot of time with a lot of rappers in this city, and you look -- they not reading, bro. it's not happening. when i think when we talk about that as the issue, i think when sean put that question up, i wasn't saying that reading is the only answer. i'm saying that's what works for me, and the idea of we push these kids through the school system but we're not creating thinkers. we're creating people who don't think. that was the tool that helped me as a thinker, and i want to just pose another question to piggy back on things you were talking about. the whole idea of, if i'm a poor white person in america and i don't have money, resources, teeth, or the ability to have, the white privilege is the only
thing i have issue don't have to be black, why want to acknowledge privilege and come up off of that? >> a great question. >> you brought up hip-hop. i was listening to block on both sides, most dev, def, and she says we are hip-hop. i you've want to know now black people are doing, see how hip-hop is doing. how are we doing if we think about where hip-hop is in 2015, what are you thoughts on where we are as a community if that equation is accurate? >> so, that's a loaded question. what i'm going to do is just take a piece of that. when i talk about kneeee liberalism, staring in darkness and knocking the hustle, it's this idea that we have to become increasingly entrepreneurial. that the person perfect is not the citizen. the perfect person is an entrepreneur. so i talk about the prosperity
gospel where the bible basically becomes an entrepreneurial self-help guide. right? if there's a phrase that communicates that, the phrase is -- just one phrase, it's i'm not a businessman, i'm a business, man. watch me handle my substance. that's jay-z in kanye west's remix. so, you have more hip-hop and weirder hip-hop than at ever before, largely due to internet and other spaces, but if you look mainstream, what you've got is this thin thread that articulates the same type of political message that a number of us are fighting against, the political message that the whole thing is about getting paid. the politics is the politics of personal development and if you're on the wrong end, you're on the wrong enbecause it's your
fault, not because of something systemic. >> you probably don't expect -- [applause] >> step on your thoughts. don't expect me to comment on hip-hop. i notice you directed that to -- >> go ahead. >> but, but, if you look at hip-hop specifically rap, which is a component of hip-hop, in other places, in brazil, lebanon, in poland and other places, you see it fulfilling its political potential in ways it has not -- at least the mainstream in the united states and the reason we have to look at that is that it has been commercialized and completely co-opted. >> and i would go ahead and plug a show on weaa. which talks about hip-hop in a global kind of perspective, which i think alludes -- go goes back to -- do go ahead. >> the best way to understand it is look at black film.
hip-hop started as voice of the people. now it is on mainstream way the voice of capitalism. like when the got gordon puck and other people to make those three first black films, well men vein van peoples made -- he tricked them. they thought that he was going to kill he revolutionary but he got away, and they saw the energy and how people reacted to the film, and the black panthers even made that film required viewing if you wanted to be a black panther. they took the hero away from corporate america when the started dumping money into this, they stopped the revolutionary from being the hero and made the new heros the pimps and dope dealers and the same thing with rap. the corporate america sees how to make money of of it. it's easy to strip it from the -- they can create the message and whoever the new hero should be. [applause] >> let's talk about we allude
today it earlier. let's talk about the election in april of 2016. obviously the mayor is not running for re-election. but i guess my question is a built of a broader question. can we continue on operating within the infrastructure, the political infrastructure, we have operated under mostly black-led, for the last several decade inside can we continue to operate under this political infrastructure and be successful going forward in 2015-2016 and beyond? >> well, as a reporter covering city hall, i don't think so. i think is a talked about before from specifics, the unity is not sustainable fiscally but also it's almost impossible to change, it appears, at least -- regardless of the facts. each successful mayor has adopted the policies and the expensive heavy-handed policing has persisted despite plenty of
evidence they don't -- they're not going to work and the evidence that we see right before us. so, i really think at this point a candidate has to come out of nowhere or change that political alliances that have created the machine that exists. the machine must, i think, in order for the city to change it direction, has to be dismantled on some level. a very simplistic form. i don't think so. >> anybody else? >> i think we have to work also outside of the political sphere. we have been talking about segregation as a bad thing. what they used to be a very rich black public sphere during segregation, and i think we have to find ways to recreate the public sphere that takes care of a lot of the functions. i was raid raised by a whole street, took care of functions in a way that we have now offloaded to the state, and the state isn't doing it. so we have to re-create the
fictions outside of the plate -- >> because the studies show that encounters with the criminal justice system decrease civic engagement, we have a huge civic engagement deficit in baltimore, and it's going to be difficult to replace what you're talking about because of where we are and the other big problem is the ma mayor is so powerful, it's going to be -- unless we have someone from a radically different perspective, whether we overhaul or change the structure of city government, it's going to take something really radical just to be able to shut the perspective of the city in a way that will facilitate what you're talking about. >> so, the one benefit -- the main -- we have a strong mayor system, the mayor actually controls most of the power in the city. and there's structural dynamics -- we have to change the city charter to work with that, and that is -- we're closer to than but it's incredibly hard, and what we have gotten now with a
combination of the freddie gray uprising, the politic around that, then the "occupy baltimore" a few years before that. we have a couple of powerful radical tendencies that give us the opportunity to do something this election. the best thing the mayor could have done was decide not to run, because what that does is it creates the space for more competition, and sheila dickson's case, for example, some would argue she basically had the election on lock because all she had to do was talk about what mayor -- blake didn't do, not that rawlings-blake is out of the picture, she has to run on her record. her record is kind of shaky. that gives other candidates a possibility to kind of run on their own record, and then to give us -- gives folks who are interested an opportunity to kind of inject this economic violence narrative that is going
to be the most important narrative we need somebody to take ahold of. >> i want to agree with that's and add something. i may get in trouble with this. with ron slick out of the race, the money candidate is out of the case. she had a huge bank rolle and when we talk about a strong mayor, we have to look at who is backing the mayor and where the power is coming from. so that creates a vacuum where -- and in that vacuum we can have different kinds of conversations. >> i'm so jaded with politics, i'm not even excited about the election. if you want to make a difference, look in at the mirror, and ask yourself, what can you do? figure out what your job us, get in some of these community and take the skill us you learned in college or whatever skills you have and share them with the people who don't have access to those resources. i used to be one of those people who -- i used to sit around and say, change the schools, save the schools. no, social reproduction is real. these schools are created to --
they are made to create a permanent underclass of peopleful that's what they do. everybody in america can't be doctors and lawyers and politicians. they want some people at mcdonald's and homeless and some people to go to jail. so these are the people who you see on news, the people who judge and say they're crazy. why they act like that? it's a system that is working how it's created. so if you want to break that system, it's almost impossible too do it by subscribing to the same system. my answer or what think is, again, we have to acknowledge these problems. i don't even tell students dish don't talk about school reform anymore. i talk below the skillset you need to develop to make it through public school if want to go to college. how to take the crappy resources available to you, and figure out how to win and attack that because the politicians are not going to do it. >> the reality ills that most of the money that these races comes
from the downtown coalition of developers and lawyers and the fop and organizations like that. and if you want to mount a campaign, you are going to be in the control of the -- i don't think there's a bernie sanders type of model yet for baltimore that would work, that i can say. so that's actually true. >> it gets you in there. >> there's no way to be a racist. that's where the money flows back and forth. so it would be very difficult to stage an insurgent candidacy without some source of money other than normal places that fueled the last mayoral administration. >> i think we're out of time? i want to ask the audience to thank our panelists for a lively discussion. [applause] >> you know what? really quick, i actually want to give a shoutout. before our freddie gray was murdered there are number of incidents of police brutality that resulted in death, and
there's a group of folks organizing for approximately 820 days around the death of tyrone west, they've been organizing every wednesday, something called west wednesday, if you're interested, my man, mike, is over to my left, he is taking up -- they've been organizing for weeks. it's tyronn west's family, and i think that what we have to do in spaces like this is not only -- is talk to what we can about people who are actually doing activist work and organizing on the ground, and right now they are. >> much respect to sister jones who has been the heart and soul -- >> yes. >> talk about sisters doing work. been doing it out of her own pocket. >> much to do with being elected. >> going to post something -- [inaudible] >> thank you all. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> you've been workingbook tv's coverage of the baltimore book festival. next weekend, the brooklyn book festival. [inaudible conversations] >> political science professor martha kumar is next on booktv's weekly author interview program, "after words." she discussions he book "before the oath" with a focus on the transfer of office between presidents bush and obama. she is interviewed by mack mchardty, former white house chief of staff in the clinton administration. >> professor kumar, welcome to "after words." i'm delighted to be here with
you and anxious to hear much more about your book "before the oath: the transition of george w. bush and barack obama and how they managed the transition to power." certainly this transition period is an important period, not real well known by the broad public, and you pull back the curtain on the inner workings of this transition and refer to it as a model and temp plat. i was struck by a number of revelations, including the level of cooperation and trust, but before we do that, let's start with kind of a hollywood thriller. let's go straight to the inaugural that was almost complicated or maybe even postponed with the terrorist threat. so just what was that threat and how did the bush and obama teams deal with it? >> guest: thank you very much for being here, and for talking with me about the book. when you look at the friend of
the -- cover the book here and see bush and obama, both of them actually looking pretty serious and grim -- >> host: they are. >> guest: they they had walked out of the blue room where they had the traditional coffee where the president and elect and first lady to be, come in to be hosted by the sitting president and the vice presidents on both sides, too, and so while they were there, discussing whatever of the day's activities ahead, they were talking about in the situation room, there was a meeting about a thread on the gnawingation -- inauguration that had come up of the weekend, threat of a terrorist attack on the inauguration, probably not close to the podium itself, but farther back, and the assumption was that there would be the
possibly people killed. and, it was something of great concern to the intelligence community, the security community. and so what they did was bring everyone together who was involved in security, so you had the cabinet secretaries, outgoing, incoming, like homeland security and state and defense, and then national security adviser and then the incoming terrorism adviser for president obama, and they discussed the threat, and what kinds of things should be done. and one person who was in the meeting, who told me about it, said that hillary clinton asked -- >> familiar with the ceremony --
>> guest: yes, and with politics and with presidential image, that she had the best question, which was, is the president going to be pulled off the podium? i don't think so. because the optics of that would have just been terrible. to show what a fragile -- >> host: could disrupt? -- sim we had that we couldn't inaugurate a president. so the obama people then talked to him, but they had found out about it over the weekend, and one of the -- an article i read, david axelrod talks about having talked to obama about it on saturday, and that they had decided not to do a final run-through. of his inaugural address. but one of the things that made that work was that both sides
were comfortable with one another. >> host: people. >> guest: they had been dealing with one another for months, at a lower level, where if you had transition people dealing with white house staff on a variety of issues, and then president obama -- president-elect named his people early enough that they could work together with the people who were sitting in the offices before they left, and so they could get information about how things work. and that was a really -- i think an excellent part of the transition. you could give people paper, give them memoranda, but sitting down and talking to them is a different thing. and that happened in the national security council, for example. after general jones, who was --
>> host: general jim jones. >> guest: as the national securitied a veers and he appointed the people in the directorat, and they worked together with the people, side-by-side with the people who were the outgoing, and they worked there for several weeks, and the advantage that has is you can talk about what is in the paper, but then you can say -- like one person was telling me that the memoranda they read, there were not a lot of mistakes in the memoranda because nobody is going to put on paper what they're going to say. but he say once you sat down with people and say, well, you might want to organize your geographically, the nc. but we tried this and it just didn't work, and it didn't work for the following reasons. so, that was particularly
important to be handle to have, that obama appointed people early enough that they could do that. but also important was the work that steve hackley did as the national security adviser for bush. he started in the fall of 2007, prepareing memoranda on countries and issues that were important for the -- for any incoming administration, and so they had a template of the information they were going to gather, information about what the state of the relationship was or the issues were when they came in, what they did, what happened as a result of what they did, and then the situation as it currently was. so they could take that memoranda, which had been passed through the intelligence community, state department, defense department, and also president bush. president bush read all of them.
and so they could take those and then ask questions about them. those were the ones that didn't have a lot of things that had been done wrong, but they were willing to be very open in their discussions. >> host: well, that's a very riveting situation that thank goodness turned out -- >> guest: fortunately, melted away. >> host: exactly. i think you go to a couple of central points there. one is this issue of trust, which we'll get to a bit later, and the relationship that was absolutely key, but let me hone in a bit on 9/11. this was the first inaugural after the terrorist attack of 9/11, and seems to me in reading your book that you concluded that the 9/11 tragedy really fundamentally changed transitions or some of the aspects of it in terms of perhaps measuring the drapes and so forth. it encouraged more of this
interaction that you speak of. is that fair? >> guest: absolutely that's so. i think that is true personally and institutionally. personally, president bush talked to josh bolton, chief of staff, in december of 2007, and talked to him about having the best transition they could. he said with two wars, it's very important to do that. congress also had acted in ways that demonstrated that a transition was a different time period. the 9/11 commission had recommended that people be appointed earlier, and that would require security clearances being done early. so, the intelligence free form and terror crimp prevention act of 2004 made a provision for names to be sent in for security clearances after the
conventions, so that once the transition began, that they would have people cleared. and that became important because the obama people took advantage of that and they put in a couple hundred tread names, 150 to 200 names. >> host: that's substantial. >> guest: right. so people could start, and that was critical because you don't want to have fragile period like that extended. you want to make sure that things worked fast and you have your people in place, and when it's a change in party transition, you're going to be changing. >> host: you have a -- >> guest: a lot of people. >> host: but it wasn't just national security, as fundamental and sacred is the safety and security of the american people in any transition of pour to the presidency. it was also the financial crisis was a major consideration in the
transition that you spent some time writing about, and appropriately so, because the meltdown had occurred just -- the financial meltdown occurred just shortly before the election, tell us about that. secretary paulson, incoming secretary tim geithner. that was a critical period as well. >> guest: it was. when you're planning for a transition, you're planning -- based on the promises you have made during the campaign, which is -- goes on for at least a couple of years, and so all of a sudden to have something come up that was so large, which it came up in september, and as -- in the period after the election, was a period in which the bush people really didn't have any political muscle left, and so that meant that the
president-elect had to be involved, and try to encourage congress to take whatever measures they wanted, like extending t.a.r.p., and -- >> host: verve controversial, very difficult. >> guest: yes. and then with the auto bailout -- >> host: i was going to get to that but go ahead. you're recounting it just as i recall it. >> guest: -- was an important aspect of dealing with the financial situation because the automobile industry had so many contractors, subcontractors, just -- >> host: in the midwest and so forth. >> guest: affects millions of people. and so the bush people were interested in making sure that that industry be stabilized as quickly as possible, and so they had a meeting with the obama
people after thanksgiving, the sunday after thanksgiving, where they talked about an auto bailout czar and having a czar to handle that, and they -- josh bolton said they would be willing to appoint a person that the obama people wanted, and at that time, which was -- obviously before the inauguration. and the obama people decided -- >> host: they pulled back a little bit. >> guest: yes to take advantage of that. >> host: so, we heard the expression, only one president at a time, but this kind of changed that a little bit. >> guest: it does. it means that here the president -- the president-elect all of a sudden has to make a very swift change from campaigning to governing, have to figure out, is he going